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Forty-one ideas for what you can do as a healthcare consultant  

Have you thought about developing a healthcare consultancy business "on the side" or as an alternative career path?  There are many physicians who work as healthcare consultants who not only provide tremendous value for their clients, but also enjoy the flexibility and diversity of the consulting life.  Some consultants work for small or large firms; other appreciate the autonomy of owning their own consulting company. 

Being successful as an independent consultant depends on many factors, but two are paramount:  1) developing a good business plan for your consulting business, and 2) knowing how you are uniquely qualified to help solve business problems for your client.  You can tackle the first challenge by learning more about business planning (check out our Tele-class offerings).  And here are some ideas that will help you tackle the second challenge, knowing how you add value.  The nine categories and 41 ideas are as follows: 

Nine categories and 41 activities where a Physician Consultant can bring Value

Adapted from What Color is Your Parachute?  Robert N. Bolles (Ten Speed Press)

1.  Research

    Identify suppliers

    Identify target markets or users for ideas or products

    Identify talent

    Identify experts

    Identify commercial possibilities for ideas or concepts

    Assess the public mood

    Examine political realities

    Trace problems, ideas to their source 

2.  Invent

    Create commercial possibilities for abstract ideas or concepts
    Design events
    Improve on others ideas
    Update others' ideas   
    Adapt others' ideas


3. Communicate

    Arbitrate disputes

    Negotiate agreements

    Terminate people/projects/processes

    Translate jargon

    Help others express views

    Help others clarify goals and values

    Handle difficult people


4. Motivate

    Sell an idea, program, or course of action to decision makers

    Raise capital for nonprofit institutions

    Raise capital for business ventures

    Recruit leadership

    Direct creative talent   

5. Analyze

    Classify data

    Perceive and define cause-and-effect relationships   

6. Synthesize


    Asses people's needs

    Extract the essence from large quantities of data   

7. Evaluate

    Assess monetary value

    Judge people's effectiveness

    Identify and assess other's potential

    Analyze communication situations 

8. Recommend

    Suggest experts

    Suggest suppliers

    Allocate scarce resources 

9. Forecast

    Plan financial matters

    Predict obsolescence   

After you have reviewed the list once, read through it again and picture yourself in different client scenarios.  The scenario might be a healthcare system, a pharmaceutical firm, a physician group practice, a technology or device company, an insurance company, a medical publications company, a health venture firm, or any number of other healthcare or non-healthcare related organizations.  

Going through the list is also helpful for physicians who are contemplating career change out of clinical practice.  What resonates with you as you read through the list?  If you can identify one or two categories that say "that's me!" then you have taken a giant step forward in making a transition.  For more guidance on career transition, check out our home study guide, Physician's Definitive Guide to Career Transition

Francine R. Gaillour, MD, Business Consultant and Executive Coach for Healthcare Leaders francine@physicianleadership.com, (206) 686-4205

Be sure read also:  What is your value-add as a business consultant